MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

May 12, 2014

City should entertain music idea

Love-Hatbox Sports Complex’s future might be in the entertainment business — and that sounds like music to our ears.

A semester-long study by University of Arkansas graduate students suggests Muskogee would be better off pursuing music festivals than sports tourism.

Those findings might seem incongruent with a sports complex.

But the study points out that sports tourism is a very competitive market in the United States and, especially, in Oklahoma.

Maybe we were hoping to build up the sports angle of the park to try to bring in soccer leagues and softball tournaments.

Apparently, we would have been competing toe-to-toe with bigger, better sports complexes throughout the state.

In other words, Love-Hatbox would just be one of many venues that try to get the same people to spend tourism dollars.

We should focus on building a park that could accommodate music festivals, concerts and other forms of entertainment. Muskogee might stand out more that way.

Having music festivals here would tie in easily with the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

Tourists could visit the museum during the day and enjoy a concert at night.

We would love to hear plans on how to capitalize on entertainment.

If we build the park to meet the needs of our citizens’ quality of life first and foremost, perhaps we would be able to draw entertainment acts from around the state.

Perhaps the city could invest in the infrastructure — stage, electricity, parking — necessary to hold and promote music acts.

Imagine local acts and perhaps a yearly Muskogee Little Theatre play on a stage under the night lights.

Imagine people on blankets or on lawn chairs enjoying the show.

Imagine local musical acts getting their start on our stage and maybe one day winding up at the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

It’s worth pursuing.

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